If you asked me if there was anything I collected, my first reaction would be to say no. I don’t acquire and keep a specific set of items for the purpose of collecting. But looking around my home, it’s clear that I am a collector.
No matter how hard I try, I will always be a collector of books. This thwarts my plan to someday live in a Tiny House. Though I could possibly use the books to build a tiny house…
I am not as bad as many people. I don’t feel that I have an excessive number of books or bookcases. For the most part, I know what I own. I also try to limit purchasing books and try to get them either as cast-offs from friends and family (a great way to try new books I would never think to read) or through swap sites like BookMooch and PaperBackSwap.
When I finish a book, I do one of three things with it: I list it on a swap site (and then put it into a storage box under the bed), I give it to a friend, or I place it on a shelf. I do my best to only keep books that I love and know I will read again. Unfortunately, the keepers are growing in number. I need to go back through and pare down those shelves.
I sometimes claim that the reason I have so many books is because I was an English major, and therefore have a number of books that are filled with margin notes from class. I can’t swap or sell those, and many are so marked up that they’re not even donation quality. Of course, I can’t throw them away or recycle them! They’re books! So they stay on the shelf. Besides, they’re mostly classics, great for a home library.
The other problem with my book collection is that I’m acquiring faster than I can read. I read a book and then discover that it’s the first in a series. So rather than read one of the other unread books that I already have, I use the swap sites to get the next book in the series.
I continue to try to put myself on a book acquiring freeze, but it never seems to work well. I have decided that I am going to not buy any more books for the next few months and see how long that lasts. I can’t say that’s a huge sacrifice, as I don’t buy that many books. But it might force me to continue to go through my giant pile of unread books and work on getting them off the shelf and out of the house.
What do you find yourself accumulating? Shoes? Kitchen gadgets? Yarn? (I am proud to say I am cured of that addiction)
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.